Now that all Grade 12 provincial exams, except English, are optional to write, the question of whether to write or not is a tricky one. First of all, of course, everyone must write an English 12 exam. The provincial exams in grades 10 and 11 are mandatory as well. But what about all other grade 12 exams?
There are really only two compelling reasons to write these exams. First, a student is eligible to win a $1000 provincial scholarship if he or she earns an A on three provincial exams in grade 12. A student must receive at least an 80% on the English exam as well, which can count as one of the three but doesn’t have to. But a student can also use AP exam scores for the scholarship. One or more scores of 4 or 5 on an AP exam can also count toward the three scores needed to earn a provincial scholarship. So if a student has 3 AP exams with a 4 or a 5 result, then a provincial exam score wouldn’t be needed to earn the scholarship.
The other reason to write is if a student feels certain that he or she will receive a higher mark on an exam than the school component. Most universities won’t allow an exam score to jeopardize a student’s mark; they will take the higher of the school score or the blended score combined with the exam. But at least two universities have said just the opposite. Both the University of Toronto and McGill University, will use the blended mark if the student writes a provincial exam even if the student’s overall mark drops as a result of the exam.
The bottom line is, if you don’t need the exam to earn a provincial scholarship and if you think that your mark could drop with your exam score and you are already pleased with your class mark, then there’s no good reason to write the exam.